20 Jul Can you use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to fly on Delta Airlines?

A friend of mine was looking to book a Delta award flight. He had a nice stash of Delta Skymiles, as well as a load of Chase Ultimate Rewards points from a recent Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card sign-up bonus.  He figured that he would just transfer his Chase Ultimate Rewards to Delta and then book the full award, but I pointed out a major flaw in his otherwise well thought out plan…

Chase Ultimate Rewards points CANNOT be transferred directly to Delta!

Bummer Man!

No CUR Transfer to Skymiles… DON’T PANIC THOUGH!

Bummer, right!?

While Chase Ultimate Rewards are a “flexible reward currency”, they are not infinitely flexible!

Flexible award currencies are valuable because they are… well, flexible. And they provide an array of redemption options, including transferability to other travel rewards programs.

Chase Airline Transfer partners

Transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to any one of these airline reward programs!

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of my favorite points to use, and while there are so many things you CAN do with them, there are some things you cannot – including transferring directly to Delta Skymiles…

If you have a nice pile of Delta Skymiles (perhaps from those recent increased sign-up bonus offers that just ended), you will not be able to add to it (and pool all your miles into one account) using a Chase Ultimate Reward transfer.

Don’t fret though! All is not lost! While you are not able transfer your points to Skymiles, I did a bit of research on the list of Chase’s Airline Travel Partners and have determined a few options for how you CAN use Chase Ultimate Rewards to fly on Delta!

We just need to get creative…

Here is our sample flight:

RT PAID Flight on Delta - AYP

I chose this flight because Delta is the only airline that offers a non-stop flight between Tampa and Los Angeles and would provide a reason as to why you would prefer the Delta flight and wouldn’t want to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to another partner like United Airlines (who does not fly this route non-stop)!

Deltra Award Flight - 25k miles - AYP

And for comparison purposes, here is how much this flight would cost if we used Delta Skymiles outright. Remember though, Chase Ultimate Rewards points do not transfer to Delta directly!

Now follow me for how to make it happen using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points!

Option 1: Use the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

Log-on to Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal:

Chase Ultimate Rewards Login - AYP

Input your flight dates:

Chase Ult Rew Portal - AYP

Pick your flights and view the cost in points:

Delta Flight using Chase Portal - AYP

I know that I said we had to get creative and this is the most basic Chase Ultimate Rewards point redemption that one can make. While many times the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal cost more points than a transfer to Chase Partners, you should ALWAYS give the portal a look as a starting point!

So, can you use Chase Ultimate Rewards to fly on Delta Airlines?

Yes – In this case, it will cost you a total of 34,096 Chase Ultimate Rewards. An OK redemption to start, but we can do better…

NOTE: The Example above assumes Chase Sapphire Preferred redemption rate of 1.25 cents per UR point. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s superior Travel Portal redemption rate of 1.5 cents per UR point, Reserve cardholders can redeem just 28,414 Chase Ultimate Rewards for this Delta flight.

Option 2: Transfer Chase Points to Korean at a 1:1 Ratio

Korean Air is a Chase Transfer partner… and Korean Air just happens to be a member of the SkyTeam Alliance – which includes Delta Airlines! That means that you are able to book a Korean Air award flight (using Korean SkyPass Miles) flying on a Delta Airlines flight!

How many points will it cost you? Take a look at the Korean Air Partner Award Chart below:

Koprean Air Award Chart - AYP

Also note the Korean Air award “peak season” dates:

Korean Air Peak Season Chart - AYP

Traveling during peak season will cost extra miles!

In our case our sample flight is North America (Tampa) to North America (Los Angeles) in October (not peak season) meaning it will cost 25,000 SkyPass Miles for a round-trip flight in Economy (45,000 SkyPass miles for Business Class)

How will you know if the flight is available?

Search for the Award availability directly on the Delta website. Additionally, you can utilize SkyTeam partner Air France’s website or Alaska Airlines website to find award availability for the Korean Award flying on a Delta itinerary.

Alaska Airlines Website

Search for Delta award availability using Alaska Airlines!

Found the award availability and ready to book?

Well, unfortunately you won’t be able to book Korean Airlines Partner awards online, so you must call SkyPass at (800) 438-5000 and request to book a SkyTeam award ticket. Before transferring your miles to Korean, go ahead and place the itinerary on hold with the SkyPass agent. This is a strategic move since you will need to complete the SkyPass bonus redemption form (and family registration form if traveling with others) and email them to the SkyPass email address engskypass@koreanair.com. Following their confirmation you can transfer the points and book the reward!

So, can you use Chase Ultimate Rewards to fly on Delta Airlines?

Yes – While it might not be the most straight-forward booking process, you can fly on this Delta flight and it will cost you just 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (transferred 1:1 to Korean Air SkyPass). That represents a valuable 9,000 point savings compared to the 34,096 CURs it cost to go through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal in Option 1!

Awards will vary in point cost so make sure to reference the award chart and search the award availability for your desired flight prior to any point transfer!

Remember – Chase Ultimate Reward point transfers are one-way and cannot be undone!

Option 3: Transfer Chase Points to Air France Flying Blue at a 1:1 Ratio

A few months back, Chase added Air France Flying Blue as a transfer partner – meaning you can now transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards directly to your Flying Blue Frequent Flyer account at a 1:1 ratio. The more transfer partners the better, but especially in our specific case where we are attempting to fly on Delta Airlines, since Air France is a SkyTeam member that partners directly with Delta Airlines!

How many points will it cost you? Well, Air France doesn’t publish a chart, but they do have a neat tool that will allow you to calculate the number of miles need for a specific award redemption using Flying Blue miles:

Air France Miles Calculator 

Flying Blue Miles Calculator - AYP

Using our TPA – LAX sample flight above, it seems that the round-trip flight for our dates will cost us 25,000 Flying Blue miles… meaning we will have to transfer  25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to Flying Blue in order to book the flight.

Air France Miles Calculator - AYP

Use the Air France Award Calculator to determine how many miles an award will cost!

Now that you determined the mile/point cost, how will you know if the flight is available?

First, you must create a Flying Blue Frequent Flyer Account! You must have one in order to search for specific award flight dates and to actually book an award. Once you have your account set up, you can login and then search your flight itinerary and designate “Use Your Miles”:

Use Your Miles - Air France Award Search.JPG

You will then be able to utilize the Air France award availability in calendar view:

Air France Award Calendar - AYP

Set your dates, then select your specific flights and then continue to fill in the passenger details!

Air France TPA - LAX

Note: You must have the requisite number of miles in your Flying Blue Frequent Flyer account in order to continue on to populating the passenger details and actually booking and paying for the flight. If you have not yet transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Air France Flying Blue, the transfer is instant and the miles will appear in your Flying Blue account in a matter of minutes!

So, can you use Chase Ultimate Rewards to fly on Delta Airlines?

Yes – You can book an Air France Flying Blue award to fly on this Delta flight and it will cost you just 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards (transferred 1:1 to Air France Flying Blue). This is the same amount of miles needed for Option 2, but requires much less work when it comes to booking since the Air France award booking can be done online without any phone calls or forms!

Again, this 25,000 point option represents a huge point savings compared to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal in Option 1!

Awards will vary in point cost so make sure to reference the Air France Miles Calculator and the search award availability for your desired flight prior to any point transfer!

Remember – Chase Ultimate Reward point transfers are one-way and cannot be undone!

Other BAD Redemption Options:

I wanted to include a few additional options just to show that there actually are methods to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Delta Skymiles, but the ratios are very much unfavorable and I really would not advise it in most (if not all cases)!

Option 4: Transfer Chase Points to Hyatt, then Hyatt Points to Delta

Hyatt is a Chase Hotel Transfer Partner and Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1 to Hyatt. From there, Hyatt points can then be transferred directly to various airline programs, including Delta Skymiles at a 2.5:1 ratio.

Convert Hyatt to Delta - AYP

To book our sample award you will need 25,000 Skymiles. Based on the transfer ratios above, you will need to redeem 50,000 Chase Ultmate Rewards points (transferred to Hyatt, then transferred from Hyatt to Delta) in order to book our Delta flight…

At that rate it would be a better points redemption to book directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (Option 1)!

FUN FACT: If this is overwhelming/confusing and a direct transfer to Delta Skymiles is your goal, then know that there is a flexible point currency that CAN transfer directly to Delta Airlines Skymiles  – that currency is American Express Membership Rewards points! If you are a Delta flyer and are mostly interested in pooling all points/miles with point direct transfers to Delta than I would suggest picking up a Membership Rewards earning card – the Premier Rewards Gold, the Platinum, the Everyday or the Everyday Preferred. With these cards you can focus your attention on earning Membership Rewards, rather than accumulating Chase Ultimate Rewards through the various Chase cards.

That said, diversifying your point/mile strategy is my preferred way to approach the points game!

Final Thought

What have we learned?

  1. You CANNOT directly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Delta Skymiles
  2. You CAN fly on Delta with your Chase Ultimate Rewards by booking:
    1. Through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
    2. An award with Korean SkyPass miles(transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards)
    3. An award with Air France Flying Blue miles(transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards)
  3. You CAN (but shouldn’t) transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Hyatt Gold Passport, then onto Delta Skymiles

My pick? While I have not utilized either, I would go with Option 2 or Option 3 as these require the least number of Chase Ultimate Rewards points! By redeeming 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards you can book the $426 flight, providing you with a 1.7 cent value per point ($426/25,000 points) – not the highest value I have seen for Chase Ultimate Reward points, but it means that you can spend that $426 on In-N-Out Burgers rather than airfare!

Another tip – diversify your point earning strategy and try to make sure you are earning in accordance with your ultimate travel redemptions in mind! That would allow you to avoid some of these more whacky award redemptions!

I know, easier said than done…

Was this helpful? Did I miss a specific redemption that you have been able to utilize in the past?

Send all questions, comments, concerns, award booking help/assistance requests to AcCountingYourPoints@yahoo.com and I will make sure you are taken care of!

HollyWood!

“I hopped off the plane at LAX with my dream and a cardigan…” – Miley Cryus

Happy Travels!

DW

5 Comments
  • easyjourneys
    Posted at 22:31h, 20 July Reply

    Great info, thanks!

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  • Jack
    Posted at 06:03h, 11 March Reply

    Great post — I already bookmarked it for later.
    Thought you’d want to know there is a typo in your value calculation under “Final Thoughts” #3. You note, “By redeeming 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards you can book the $426 flight, providing you with a 1.7 cent value per point ($226/25,000 points)” — it should be $426/25,000 for 1.7 cents per point.
    Thanks again and keep these interesting posts coming!

    • DW
      Posted at 16:43h, 13 March Reply

      Thanks for the find – Updated accordingly!

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